Tacoma Public Schools

Tacoma, Washington

Number of students: 30,000

Number of Schools: 57

Tacoma Public Schools is one of the largest districts in Washington State. The district is dedicated to meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of students. Tacoma truly operates under a “students first” philosophy. The “Tacoma Whole Child Initiative” strives to help children develop the skills they will need to be socially strong, emotionally resilient, and self-determined. Deputy Superintendent, Joshua Garcia is quoted saying, “The Tacoma Whole Child Initiative is a 4 shift approach that aligns the efforts of school staff, community partners, families and neighborhoods to ensure every child is safe, healthy, engaged, supported and challenged.  Across our city we have come together to support the Social Emotional and Academic Development of every child, everyday.”  What are the results of this initiative thus far? There have been many notable achievements within the schools that have a social emotional learning focus. There has been substantial decreases in suspension, expulsion, and closed graduation gaps between white students and students of color. TPS was featured in a Washington Post article that discussed how SEL initiatives have transformed students school experience and created more supportive learning environments. In November 2017, The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development visited TPS to hear from leaders regarding SEL implementation in the district. This visit was an opportunity for The Aspen Institute to delve deeper into TPS’s mission in supporting the whole child.  

Learn more about TPS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.


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